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Author Topic: Plane crash victims die before hitting the ground
Happy Holly Days

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Originally posted by Singing in the Drizzle:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
I'm pretty sure that even "experts" of the day agreed, as there was no proof to indicate otherwise. Today that has morphed into this tale where high velocity and high acceleration (not due to impact) are somehow deadly. Not true.

Not quite true. Speed it self does not kill, but exposure to the environment around you at high speed can. Air hitting your body and 400 MPH becuase it exerts a resitance force against your bodies motion. This is one reason why you are inclosed inside an airplane and not out in the open. All that nasty fast moving air is keep outside the airplane were it exerts it forces against the skin and onto the structure. You are nice and safe in a slow moving bubble of air.

High acceleration is a short time will easy kill you as you mentioned, do to something like a impact. High acceleration over a longer period of time can still kill you, just not as fast. You may be able to easy survie 2Gs if you are in good health for some time, but how long will you live doing 6Gs or even more. If the force is not enough to brake bones, the heart is going to give out from the extra work or you passout and die from lack of oxygen to brain. Remember that force makes it harder to breath and pump blood.

You miss the point. In the old west, where horse-drawn wagons and trains ran side by side, you could be in a stagecoach, or the passenger car of a train. Both are equally protected from the elements - in fact, you could even be facing backwards. Windows would be open and there would be no shortage of oxygen to breathe. And yet, people were fearful of the risk of death at high speed.

And while your points on acceleration are valid, I don't think that one can sustain *linear* acceleration of that level (i.e. 6 G's) for any length of time. Centrifugal acceleration (i.e. a fighter jet in a sharp turn) can be sustained indefinitely, but it is impossible to sustain that kind of acceleration - linear or centrifugal - on land.

"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

Posts: 1587 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Rivkah Chaya
I Saw Three Shipments

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Well, first of all, your brain can't ooze out your ears, even if it does liquify-- your nose, maybe, if you have unclosed fissures or skull fractures, but not your ears. Second, the brain does not register pain. The muscles in the head do, so if the brain swells, there will be pain, but people with brain cancer are almost pain-free compared to people with other types of cancer. Metastatic brain cancer is another thing.

Third, a remarkable number of passengers of the notorious plane crash involving the Uruguyan rugby team in the Andes survived the crash even though the plane broke apart in mid-air. Moreover, **GROSS-OUT ALERT** they had gathered up the bodies of many of the people who had not survived because they were in the rear of the plane that broke off, or were sucked out the hole into free-fall, and later, when they had to turn to cannibalism, they ate the brains of the people who had died, which had not turned to mush, and leaked out their ears or otherwise.

Posts: 75 | From: Bloomington, IN | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jingle Bell Hock

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This actually sounds like a new take on a very old theory - that people who fall from a great height die before they hit the ground due to shock or hyperventilation or something. I think it came out when flying was still a fairly new science. Sky divers who fall for miles before opening their chutes are absolute proof this does not happen.

and, as other people have said, the extremely high velocity of flying in fighter planes or spacecraft pretty well shows your brain does not turn to mush because of speed.

Then there are fighter pilots who have to bail out at high speeds occassionally, and survive. Even flying at high velocity outside of the safe confines of an aircraft does not turn your brain to mush. So, I would say myth 1000% busted.

Now, as I read in a real science book, if you were to try to go from zero to even just half the speed of light in a matter of a few seconds, or even a few hours, the sudden accelleration would probably turn your brain to mush, and all your other internal organs, and they'd go flying out of your body, not to mention your spacecraft would almost undoubtedly be torn apart. So, when attempting to travel near the speed of light I highly recommend you accelerate slowly- take a few days to get up to half the speed of light. Otherwise, don't worry about speed mushing your brain.

Posts: 479 | From: Owosso, MI | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Deck the Malls

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I'm reading the book "Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers", and in it Mary Roach interviews a man who is an injury investigator. He looks at injuries and determines if they are consist with the claimed cause of the injury. He's been involved in many airplane crash investigations and the one in particular the author discusses is the crash of flight 800 over the water on the way to NYC.

At first there was a question of whether this plane was blown up or not. He inspected the victim injuries and didn't find any evidence of explosion. (It was eventually determined there was a spark from faulty wiring that caused a fuel tank to ignite and a fire swept through the plane.) He did explained that even though this plane broke apart at a high altitude, most of the victims were found pretty much intact. The fire caused the plane to break apart and many of the victims slid out of the restraints as the seats fell out of the plane. The victims did NOT die from the break up of the plane (although they may have been unconscious) - they died from hitting the water. The impact of the body hitting the water causes the major internal organs to be pushed against the spine, ribs, etc. leading to ruptured aortas and other fatal injuries. I believe it was over 85% of the victims have ruptured aortas.

As mentioned earlier, most airplane crashes happen during take off and landing (about 95% of them). He said the most likely cause of death in those kinds of crashes is fire (and being unable to get out of the plane due to exits that won't open, stampedes of people blocking the exits, etc.).

So yes, it depends on how the crash happened, but for the vast majority, victims don't die of the crash itself.

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Xboxing Day

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People are very rarely killed in aviation by anything other than a "bad landing".
Actually, takeoff issues are more dangerous and occur more frequently because the aircraft is fully fueled and thus has a higher gross weight and a lower stall margin. If an aircraft experiences engine or control surface difficulties in the takeoff regime of flight, the subsequent loss of or instability of lift make it much easier for it to depart controlled flight. An engine loss after takeoff coupled with incorrect flight control inputs were the cause of the crash of American Airlines Flight 171 at Chicago O'Hare International in 1979, the most deadly single aircraft accident in US history.

"Excuse me, homes, but could you tell me how to get back to the interstate?"

Posts: 1245 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Little Sales Drummer Boy

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An engine loss after takeoff coupled with incorrect flight control inputs were the cause of the crash of American Airlines Flight 171 at Chicago O'Hare International in 1979, the most deadly single aircraft accident in US history.
Not really disagreeing, but the 'probable cause' was structural overload of the engine pylon due to improper maintenance. The resulting engine loss and asymmetrical flaps were contributing factors. Snippet from the NTSB summary for AA 171:




(*Flew home four days after this accident on which a our 737 had an engine shut down about 3/4 of the way through the flight... it made a lot of people on board a little nervous, to say the least. We got a nice reception from the fire trucks, though.)


Posts: 3020 | From: Colorado | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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